Dangerous Odds

by Ed Meyer

posted on March 27, 2012 in General Discussion, Horse Racing | 1 Comment >>

I was a young boy when a football-carrying monster by the name of Earl Campbell would punish runners, and do it on the feet of a ballerina. He made every game for the Houston Oilers exciting for the sport. I was perusing an article where they were describing the Heisman Trophy winner, and NFL Hall Of Famer and how he could run a 40-yard dash in under 5 seconds. Now, he was clocked in 6 minutes for the same distance. I wonder if this monster of a player regrets all that he gave to the game he loved.

As of late, horse racing has been taking a butt-whipping. To lead right out – is it dangerous? Yes, and I am glad I cannot make the weight for once… It, like so many other sports, is a dangerous game played by brave participants, doing what their heart has chosen. In the old days, or back when racing lacked a safety mission and active changes to make the game better, I didn’t say that everything was complete, and we never needed to fix anything. Just as all sports, racing is evolving. Give it time, and appoint the proper authorities to monitor the sport and it may just surprise you. The New York Times brought up some great investigative points as of recent. One of the main points of who-dunnit was the use of drugs – Viagra, cobra venom, cancer drugs, and blood doping agents. I am sure you can name at least 10 professional teams that have had run-in’s with “looking for that chemical edge.” This was just one point that hit home. Could racing be getting a standing 8 count, and the public awaiting to see what changes are in store for the future?

The breed is a fine mix of speed and stamina. Most of the riders have been competing since they were young boys. The trainers have been passed down a great mantle of responsibility of caring for majestic animals. But, as with many sports, it offers a shot of excitement that is hard to find. In my heart, I think the public is losing patience. The clock is ticking, and the game has a short window of opportunity to find answers to the questions being posed.

I can’t remember a weekend of couch potato sitting and watching sports, where an athlete was not carried off. Racing used to be the sport that captivated America. With the expansion of gaming to support racing in many states, there has never been a more important time to cure the ills of our sport. It won’t happen overnight, and if done right, we might just fall in love like our grandpa did many moons ago. The drug issue will be first to be addressed. If we want to ensure a next generation, we must take a step back and clean our house. I think the sound you hear is the ticking clock on the future of racing. It can be saved, but we have a great deal of work to complete.  I sure hope so…  I would love to meet my dad at the races for years to come…